Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 27th Jan 2022, 05:21:10am EET

Session Overview
Paper Presentation Session 12: Learning/Teaching Methods III
Thursday, 17/June/2021:
10:45am - 12:15pm

Session Chair: Benjamin A Feasmen
Location: Parallel Session 5

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Debate over traditional and innovative pedagogy: Maintaining ethical standards in uncertainty

Chamalie Piusha Madusarie Gunawardane, Harshani Wasana Fenando

Department of Sociology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

The COVID -19 pandemic forced higher education institutions to remote modes of teaching, learning and assessments practice that requested the innovative thinking of social work education within its mission, values and ethical standards. The aim of this study is to critically evaluate how the core values and principles of National Social Work Code of Ethics can be brought into innovative practices in classrooms of social work education. The background adopted to the study was based on e-leaning in social work classes where students are not offered a usual onsite field practice. In this context, educators used their prior knowledge on field experiences to provide the essence of field based social work as innovative teaching learning practice. Methodologically, this study employed interpretive research method. Participant observation was utilized to gather data and thematic analysis was conducted on how innovative education practice used can balance the core values of the social work discipline. Findings highlight that, educators find that using a prior knowledge on field could provide a moderate knowledge on practice and it helped both educators and students to be conscious about the mission of the social work profession. Anyhow, the balance between the innovative and traditional education practices was debated as educators found difficulties in maintaining ethical standards in sharing prior experiences as it involves people, relationship, competence, social justice and integrity in all micro, meso and macro levels. Educator is ethically in a dilemma as revelation of data attached to prior experience can breach the core values of the profession. Students also in a dilemma as they get subtle knowledge about social work filed practices. This contradiction of the real and hypothetically designed social work practice knowledge developed in the classroom question the ideals of ethical practices which all social workers should aspire. The study concludes that the uncertain situations require social work educators and students to maintain the ethics while thinking of a collaborative practice to develop a new set of innovative and ethical based teaching leaning and assessment related to social work discipline.

Teaching to think, perform and act as social worker with integrity: the case of a course on the “Diagnostic Assessment in Social Work”

Anait Mertzanidou, Theano Kallinikaki


The 2008 and 2015 EPAS has identified the field education as social work’s signature pedagogy. The term “signature pedagogy” refers to the characteristic forms of teaching that organize the fundamental ways in which future practitioners are educated to practice and instructed the three critical dimensions of professional work – to think, to perform and to act with integrity (Shulman 2005a,b).

The identification of field education as social work’s signature pedagogy by CSWE is reproduced in the majority of social work literature, while it is criticized by a minority of scholars who question the way (it is not based on a research) and the appropriateness (it does not qualify Shulman’s criteria of uniqueness) of that identification. Some suggest a more broad view of social work’s signature pedagogy, including the teaching in class (Earls Larrison & Korr, 2013:203).

In order to contribute to this debate, we conducted an experimental participatory research in which we observed, analyzed and documented how teaching and learning based on Shulman’s concept of Signature Pedagogy and its related sub-concepts, occur and can be applied in a teaching class. The research process was based on the informed consent and contract with 22, third year Social Work students in the context of the course on “Diagnostic Assessment in Social Work”, having to participate in the total of thirteen 3-hour lectures during the spring term of the academic year 2019-2020 at the Democritus University of Thrace. Unexpectedly, 10 classes were offered online due to the Covid-19-lockdown of the country.

Students’ voice and experience collected via texts on expectations of the course at the first lecture, synopsis and reflections on the teaching and the learning process at the end of each lecture, and on a detailed evaluation at the end of the course. Data were organized in the pre-formulated categories of how to think, to perform and to act with integrity. The analysis shows that teaching in the class should be leading on development of an efficient “signature pedagogy”, and outlines the challenging situation in responding to specific social work practice targets and criteria.

Activation group: Promoting engagement in social work with migrant people.

Tatiana Casado de Staritzky1, Maria Elena Cuartero Castañer2, Ana Cañas Lerma3

1Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain; 2Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain; 3Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain

There has been an exponential increase in people demanding social services, due to the social and economic consequences generated by the health crisis of COVID-19. Social services have been overwhelmed in many countries, and Spain has been one of them. However, there are a significant number of people who were already involved with professional support systems, and who, for one reason or another, were stuck in their process of change. In social services of the municipality of Sa Pobla (Mallorca, Spain), social workers promoted a group intervention project to help these users to move forward. These users presented the following profile: migrant women, with difficulties in accessing the labour market (due to language difficulties, lack of professional qualifications, health problems, etc.); lack of coverage of basic needs; chronicity -they have been involved with social services for months, without substantial changes in their situation-. The group intervention, called“Activation Group”, was carried out between September and November 2020. Throughout12 sessions (twice a week), participants worked on different aspects: motivation, resilience, self-esteem, etc. The objective was to help these people decide where to direct a possible work plan to improve their social and relational situation. A social worker worked with these participants on a weekly base. Besides this, some specialists developed specific contents with the group. Results were measured in different ways. Outcomes were measured weekly with the Outcome Rating Scale (ORS), and the alliance was measured also weekly with the Group Session Rating Scale. Finally, a qualitative assessment was carried out with the participants. Most of them showed an improvement, referring that this group was helpful to reflect about their lives and about their future. Therefore, we believe that this structured group intervention is an effective way to help social service users to overcome blockage in their process of change.  

“Values Building in Social Work Education - challenges and threats in recent times"

Ewa Teresa Kantowicz

University of Warmia&Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland, Faculty of Social Sciences

Ethical competences are an integral part of Higher Education of social work graduates. Anyway, the implementation of the aims of building values through academic education meets in recent times new challenges and barriers.

In my presentation I would like to analyze the part of research data which were focused on expert evaluation of values building in social work education at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn. Research was based on interviews with experts teaching subjects focused on values building in education. Research questions reflected on values which are specifically trained in the process of values building in social work education and the profile of knowledge, skills of a graduate in the field of social work and used didactic methods and techniques in the process of social work education, social challenges and barriers in values building.Summing up only chosen results of interviews with experts in the context of conceptions of values building in social work education they underlined the importance of expected professional competencies and attitudes. The experts underlined that the ethical principles introduced in courses are specific provisions of the code of ethics. Experts agreed that the values of social work and ethics are fully reflected in the directional education for social work and they are focused on the worth of the individual (uniqueness of the client, respect for uniqueness, equality, dignity of the individual, freedom and right to diversity, empowering the client toward responsibility, professionalism of the social worker, client participation in the process), which corresponds to the level of individual ethics.In educating values interviewed experts underline the importance of discussions, case studies and social projects. In their opinion - the aim of the ethical education of future social workers is to learn the sources and place of ethics and philosophy in the context of other fields of science and to raise awareness of the needs of those in need of social support and to carry out tasks in accordance with the principles of ethical conduct.

How can practice educators use motivational interviewing to develop and assess self-awareness in student social workers?

Benjamin A Feasmen

Central Bedfordshire Council, United Kingdom

Despite the importance placed upon practice educators to develop student social workers self-awareness in their field placement, there has been little research or guidance published to support this claim. This presentation makes a unique contribution to address the gap in research, by sharing the research findings of practising English practice educators currently developing and assessing self-awareness in student social workers.

The research findings define self-awareness as both an outcome required of student social workers for safe and effective practice and a reflective process that is a means unto itself.

However, the findings caution that developing self-awareness in students is complex and the quality of the relationship between student and practice educator is paramount. I shall outline the ethical and practical challenges faced by practice educators and the benefits for developing self-awareness in students, locating this within current thinking of practice education. The findings show that Practice educators found it easier to evidencenegative examples of self-awareness in students. Moreover, practice educators felt studentsare not able to be honest with them, due to a fear of being failed. This creates a conflict for practice educators, which the findings suggest reduces both the assessment and development of self-awareness to a passive experience of the practice placement, with practice educators only intervening when there is potential harm to service users.

Motivational interviewing is proposed as a method to address the gap in practice education guidance. Utilising examples from the research data, I will provide an overview of the principles and process of motivational interviewing, using short videos, co-created with students, to illustrate its use as an assessment and development tool in practice education. I build upon existing work by demonstrating how motivational interviewing techniques can create the conditions in which students feel comfortable discussing their developing practice and barriers they may face in this process, including discrepancies between their personal values and the professional ones they must adopt. By working collaborative with the student, the practice educator can evoke motivation to develop behaviours more in line with the profession and empower students to develop self-awareness and the skills to take this forward.

Character Strengths and Virtues of Students in Fieldwork Education:A Comparative Study between Two University Departments of Social Work in Greece

Eleni Papouli1, Sevaste Chatzifotiou2, Charalampos Tsairidis2

1University of West Attica, Greece; 2Democritus University of Thrace, Greece

The present study aimed at identifying and highlighting the character strengths and virtues of social work students required for achievement in fieldwork education. The data was collected from undergraduate students (N=196) of two Greek university departments of social work, who were in their first placement in different field agencies. The study was descriptive in nature and used a questionnaire, the configuration of which was based on the Peterson and Seligman’s (2004) list of 24 character strengths, grouped within six core virtues. The results of the study, derived from both the quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis, showed minimal differences between the two university departments and revealed six main character strengths as important for success in fieldwork education, i.e. honesty, fairness/justice, love, humour, kindness and perseverance. Also, the results identified four factors of character strengths contained under different virtues and associated with effective fieldwork education: emotional strengths (honesty and perseverance) under the virtue of courage, interpersonal strengths (love and kindness) under the virtue of humanity, civic strengths (fairness/justice) under the virtue of justice and connection strengths (humour) under the virtue of transcendence. The study highlights the interrelated and interconnected nature of character strengths as predictors of fieldwork performance for our undergraduate students. But at the same time, it recognizes the unique nature of each character strength as a professional virtue skill for meeting the requirements of fieldwork education. The results of the study will be used to develop new innovative programs and projects that correspond to the modern trends in fieldwork education. Such fieldwork education is based on the strengths perspective that focuses on student’s abilities and talents and allows them to identify their personal strengths and virtues and at the same time to apply them in practice.

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